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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 216)

UK police investigate ‘targeted attack’ after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester

Police in Manchester, England, are investigating a “targeted attack” Monday after two people were stabbed outside a supermarket in the city’s Piccadilly Gardens.

BORIS JOHNSON SLAMS ‘AMERICA BASHERS’ AFTER BREXIT, PREVIEWS NEW TERRORIST POLICY AFTER LONDON STABBINGS

Officers responded around 12:10 p.m. local time to reports that two people had been stabbed near Morrisons supermarket, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement to Fox News. One man was rushed to the hospital. His injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening. A second man was being treated for minor injuries at the scene. No arrests have been made.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1205293857-1 UK police investigate 'targeted attack' after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 00d1f31f-643a-54a9-9fed-acd66d3079dc

A forensic officer is seen at work following a reported stabbing at Manchester Piccadilly Gardens on February 10, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Social media users shared videos showing a heavy police response in the area. Several roads were closed due to the incident. Police asked the public to avoid the area while an investigation is underway.

Investigators are treating the incident as a “targeted attack,” but stress there is no greater threat to the wider community, Greater Manchester Police said.

North West Ambulance Service sent 10 vehicles and crew to the scene, BBC reported. City Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons also thanked Manchester Police for their “rapid response” to the “targeted attack.”

Employees from one company in a nearby building received an alert warning that said “an individual has been the victim of stabbing. Please stay within the building until this incident is under control,” Manchester Evening News reported. A portion of Oldham Street was also cordoned off.

The incident Monday comes after ISIS claimed responsibility for a knife attack in south London’s Streatham district last weekend. Sudesh Amman, 20, strapped on a fake bomb and stabbed two people on the street before being shot and killed by police. A third person suffered injuries caused by broken glass when responding officers opened fired, investigators said.

Amman, who was wearing a mock suicide vest at the time, carried out the stabbings in response to calls to attack the citizens of coalition countries, a statement posted by ISIS’ Amaq news agency said, according to Reuters. Fox News also independently confirmed ISIS’ claim to the attack.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The man had been convicted of terrorism-related offenses but was later released from prison. The incident last week and a Nov. 29 attack in which two people were killed in central London prompted the U.K. government to announce new emergency legislation preventing the “automatic early release” of people convicted of terror crimes being released after serving only half their sentences.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1205293857-1 UK police investigate 'targeted attack' after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 00d1f31f-643a-54a9-9fed-acd66d3079dc   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1205293857-1 UK police investigate 'targeted attack' after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 00d1f31f-643a-54a9-9fed-acd66d3079dc

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Your Foam Coffee Cup Is Fighting for Its Life

MASON, Mich. — The Dart Container Corporation, by some measures, is an American success story.

The family-owned business was co-founded in Michigan by a World War II veteran with a triple major in mathematics, engineering and metallurgy, and it developed products that, in no small way, helped fuel the modern economy. Dart makes, by the millions, white foam cups, clamshells, coffee cup lids, and disposable forks and knives — the single-use containers that enable Americans to eat and drink on the go. It employs about 15,000 people across 14 states.

But now many of the products that this low-profile Midwestern company creates are being labeled by critics as environmental blights contributing to the world’s plastic pollution problem.

Cities and states are increasingly banning one of Dart’s signature products, foam food and beverage containers, which can harm fish and other marine life. In December, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York proposed a statewide ban on single-use food containers made of “expanded polystyrene” foam, more commonly, but inaccurately, known as Styrofoam. (Styrofoam is a trademarked material typically used as insulation.) Maine and Maryland banned polystyrene foam containers last year, and nearly 60 nations have enacted or are in the process of passing similar prohibitions. Some elected officials and environmental groups say polystyrene containers are difficult to recycle in any meaningful way.

“There is overwhelming evidence that this material is seriously damaging the earth,” said Brooke Lierman, a Maryland lawmaker who sponsored her state’s ban.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163297110_15190234-ba95-4e2f-a3eb-377866b998d4-articleLarge Your Foam Coffee Cup Is Fighting for Its Life Wayner, Claire Recycling of Waste Materials Plastics Lierman, Brooke Lammers, Jim Foam Fish and Other Marine Life environment Dart, William A. Dart Container Corp Containers and Packaging Baltimore Beyond Plastic Baltimore (Md)

Dart’s Chicago factory. The company makes, by the millions, products including foam cups, clamshells, coffee cup lids, and disposable forks and knives.Credit…Lyndon French for The New York Times

But Dart Container, which has been owned by the Dart family since its founding in 1950s, is not backing down. While many plastics companies work to protect their product through trade groups and feel-good marketing campaigns, Dart is challenging regulation directly and aggressively.

Shortly after Maryland voted to ban foam, Dart shut down its two warehouses in the state, displacing 90 workers and sending a signal to other locales considering similar laws. San Diego recently decided to suspend enforcement of its polystyrene ban in the face of a lawsuit by Dart and a restaurant trade group, which argued the city should have conducted a detailed environmental impact study before enacting the law. The city is now performing that analysis.

“We don’t believe there are good, objective reasons to single out certain materials,” Dart’s chief executive officer, Jim Lammers, said in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters.

The interview was one of the first times Dart had allowed a journalist broad access to its facilities on a leafy campus in Mason, where there are running trails, a garden honoring employees and boulders inscribed with words like “Meritocracy.”

Dart is waging a broader campaign to argue that its products are being used as scapegoats for a society fueled by on-the-go consumerism. Dart says that critics of polystyrene are ignoring the negative environmental impacts of other products, like many paper cups, which are derived from trees and can emit greenhouse gases as they degrade in landfills. By Dart’s reasoning, most materials inflict some negative impact on the environment, so it doesn’t make sense to ban one and not another.

“If you just give up on foam,” said Michael Westerfield, director of recycling at Dart, “what are they going to want to do next?”

The backlash against foam is taking its toll. Polystyrene foam sales have been declining, and the company has been broadening its offerings to include more paper products, including coffee cups sold at Starbucks and Dunkin’. It is also experimenting with containers that can be composted or fashioned from recycled content.

Today, foam makes up only a fifth of all the products that Dart sells. The company says overall sales of food and beverage containers, which generate $3 billion in annual revenue, are essentially flat.

Even as the market for polystyrene shrinks, many environmental groups want to abolish foam entirely because if it ends up as litter, it can break down easily into small pieces, harming fish and animals that ingest it. For humans, plastic fibers have been found in everything from drinking water to table salt, though the long-term health consequences are still being studied.

Industry and academic experts are still debating how best to quantify the long-term impact that single-use containers made from varying materials — plastics, paper, glass — can have on climate change. But the harm that plastic pollution can inflict on marine life is immediate, environmentalists say.

“A paper cup, as far as I know, has never killed any sea creatures,” said Jan Dell, an engineer who used to work in the plastics industry and now runs the Last Beach Cleanup, an advocacy group focused on plastic pollution.

The same properties that can make foam an environmental problem also make it profitable to manufacture. The costs are low because foam is 95 percent air and can be made using relatively little raw plastic.

William A. Dart did not invent foam cups, but he did master their mass production.

After returning from World War II and graduating from the University of Michigan, Mr. Dart spent a year working for the DuPont chemical company. In the late 1950s, brimming with ideas about plastic, he returned to his father’s welding factory in Mason, a small city next to Lansing. Mr. Dart began experimenting with creating cups from polystyrene, a material with seemingly magical insulating properties that would serve the growing fast-food industry.

Chick-fil-A was one of Dart’s first major accounts. The company also sold its plastic to hospitals and schools, sports stadiums and the food service giants Sysco and US Foods.

The company celebrates its long history of manufacturing in the United States. While many American factories moved to Asia in search of cheaper workers, foam cannot be imported profitably from overseas; the cost of importing the lightweight containers would offset any savings in labor, Dart says.

Mr. Lammers said the company was growing frustrated with the intensifying blowback against foam.

“Food and beverage packaging, like a lot of things in life, is not a sound-bite discussion,” said Mr. Lammers, who joined the company in 1986.

A lawyer by training, Mr. Lammers shuttles around Dart’s sprawling corporate campus in Mason in a blue Honda Accord. He proudly walked a reporter through a small museum in the lobby where single-use plastic products are arrayed like fine art. One display charts the history of the clam shell container. Another shows coffee lids through the years. It is a shrine to the throwaway items of everyday life: blue coffee cups with the Greek-style design and tiny clear plastic cups found in dentists’ offices. Dart makes them all.

The one area that was off limits was Building No. 1, where the white foam cups are made. The company says the foam machinery, designed by Mr. Dart in the 1950s and refined over decades, is such a closely guarded secret that only select employees and customers are allowed on the factory floor.

Mr. Dart’s heirs are also intensely private.

His sons Robert and Kenneth Dart have been involved in running the company, to varying degrees, since the 1980s. Kenneth, who renounced his American citizenship, decamped to the Cayman Islands and now develops real estate there. He’s worth an estimated $5.8 billion, according to Bloomberg. Robert also renounced his citizenship and relocated to London, where he still lives. The Dart brothers’ moves partially spurred the Senate to propose a law in the 1990s closing a tax loophole for expatriates.

Although the two brothers are no longer involved in the container company’s daily operations, they serve on the board and provide advice on “major capital expenditures and strategic decisions,” a Dart spokeswoman said in a statement. A third brother, Thomas, ended his involvement with the company in the 1980s, Dart said.

In 2012, Dart acquired another Midwestern container company, Solo, for $1 billion. The deal greatly expanded Dart’s product line into more paper and rigid plastic containers like the Solo cups that are ubiquitous at college keg parties and football tailgates.

Yet even as it diversified, Dart never gave up on polystyrene foam.

For years, the company has emphasized how polystyrene foam can be recycled, just like some other forms of plastic containers. The problem is that most communities do not accept foam in municipal recycling systems because it can be difficult to find buyers willing to pay enough money for the used material. So Dart offers to collect and transport the used foam containers for cities at no cost.

But it takes considerable energy to transport and recycle foam, as shown by a visit to a new recycling facility that Robert Dart has helped develop in Indianpolis.

The warehouse is filled with large bricks of crushed foam cups and egg cartons that have been transported there by truck or train from as far away as Canada and California. The foam is sorted and shredded into small pieces and then resold.

Dart’s recycling facility in Mason, Mich.Credit…Lyndon French for The New York Times Bricks of shredded foam cups and egg cartons await their next lives.Credit…Lyndon French for The New York Times

Foam food containers cannot be turned into new containers because health regulators have not approved them for such use, Dart says. Currently, the most common uses for the recycled polystyrene include picture frames and plastic rolls that spool out cash register receipts.

Dart says it’s possible that used polystyrene could eventually be made into new drinking cups en masse, but right now there is limited collection and processing capacity.

“We’d love to get there,” said Mr. Westerfield, the recycling director.

And some communities doubt they ever will. Growing up in Baltimore, Claire Wayner and her family used to haul their egg cartons and foam packaging to a drop-off site that Dart supported in the city. Volunteers in the local schools used to wipe down macaroni and cheese remnants and cheeseburger juices from hundreds of foam lunch trays and drive them to the recycling site.

Despite all of these good intentions, Ms. Wayner wondered how much of the city’s polystyrene was actually being recycled and questioned how large the market was for used foam beyond niche products like picture frames.

Schools in Baltimore now serve lunch on compostable trays.Credit…Andrew Mangum for The New York Times While in high school, Claire Wayner, now in college, helped get a ban on foam food containers passed in Baltimore.Credit…Andrew Mangum for The New York Times

“It seems so random and ridiculous,” said Ms. Wayner, who is now a sophomore at Princeton University.

In high school, Ms. Wayner and other students started Baltimore Beyond Plastic, a group that convinced school officials to remove the foam lunch trays from the city’s public schools.

The student group, working with other environmental activists, then pushed successfully for a citywide ban on foam food containers. After the vote, Dart closed the recycling drop-off location it supported in Baltimore.

Asked about the closing, the Dart spokeswoman Becky Warren said in a statement, “We invest our recycling resources in communities that support our customers and our company.”

To Ms. Wayner and others, the move showed that Dart did not truly consider polystyrene recycling a viable enterprise, but rather a bargaining chip to ward off regulation.

“As soon as they lost, it was like they took their marbles and went home,” said Martha Ainsworth, a volunteer leader with the Sierra Club in Maryland.

Even with the foam ban, Baltimore still faces challenges in achieving its sustainability goals. The Baltimore schools now serve lunch on compostable trays. But there are no facilities in the city that can compost material commercially so the trays are sent to landfills or an incinerator, according to a spokeswoman for the city school system.

Dart executives say many of their customers also want more sustainable containers, but are facing the financial realities. Some food and beverage companies, they said, want containers made from more recycled and compostable material, but not everyone is willing to accept the additional costs.

Last year, the company opened a laboratory in Mason, where chemists wearing white lab coats and blue rubber gloves hover over beakers and reactors. In one room, technicians tested new coatings for paper coffee cups that are not made of plastic. In another, they analyzed soil samples to test how quickly a compostable cup breaks down.

It’s not clear how long it will take before some of these experiments result in marketable products, but Mr. Lammers said “it is close.”

“I guarantee you we are going to be different 10 years from now,’’ he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Cruise Ship’s Coronavirus Outbreak Leaves Crew Nowhere to Hide

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168714021_0d5f9374-9246-4f1d-8fc7-03f74d0ecd6d-facebookJumbo Cruise Ship’s Coronavirus Outbreak Leaves Crew Nowhere to Hide Yokohama (Japan) Ships and Shipping Quarantines Princess Cruises Politics and Government Japan Cruises Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

YOKOHAMA, Japan — As coronavirus cases rapidly multiply on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, the more than 2,500 passengers on board live in effective isolation. They receive meals in their cabins. They keep an officially mandated distance of six feet from each other for the few minutes each day when they are allowed on deck for walks.

Below decks, the situation is different. There, hundreds of crew members are eating, living and working elbow to elbow as they try to keep life as comfortable as possible for those above. They line up for simple buffet meals and then sit down together to eat. Bathrooms are shared by up to four people, and cabins often by two.

These conditions have raised fears that a quarantine meant to halt the virus’s spread on board, and keep the contagion from expanding on Japan’s shores, is endangering the health and safety of the crew.

The ship, which is under a two-week quarantine in the port of Yokohama, has become host to the highest concentration of coronavirus cases outside China, the epicenter of the outbreak. The risk to crew members and passengers was dramatically reinforced on Monday as Japan’s health ministry said that an additional 65 people had tested positive for the virus, nearly doubling the total to 135.

Among them, at least 10 crew members have been infected, with five cases announced on Sunday and five more on Monday. According to employees, the infected crew members identified on Sunday had been eating in the mess hall alongside their co-workers.

Unlike the passengers they serve, most of whom come from wealthy nations, the ship’s employees are overwhelmingly from developing countries like India and the Philippines. They have not received the same global attention as passengers from countries like the United States, Australia and Britain, whose social media posts have been widely read.

In a video posted to Facebook on Monday, Binay Kumar Sarkar, who works in the ship’s galley preparing meals and washing dishes, asked the Indian government to help get him and his co-workers off the ship before the virus spread further. There are 132 Indians among the crew of more than 1,000.

The ship is like a “small city,” Mr. Sarkar said in a Facebook chat, making it “very easy” to spread the virus.

In response to emailed questions, a representative of Princess Cruises, which operates the Diamond Princess, said that all crew members “are highly trained in safety and public health standards.” Without offering specifics, the representative added that the company was “implementing processes developed in coordination with public health officials to support the elevated requirements of this situation.”

In some ways, the cruise ship quarantine is analogous, albeit with a much smaller pool of people, to the lockdown of Wuhan, China, where the epidemic began. In Wuhan and the surrounding province, Hubei, the authorities have barred close to 50 million people from leaving, and cases there are still rising as family members infect each other.

“Similar to the situation in Wuhan, but at a smaller scale, by quarantining the ship, the crew members are being forced to stay together, which increases the likelihood of transmission,” said John B. Lynch, an associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington. “We have to remember that quarantines protect those outside the quarantine, not those within.”

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • Where has the virus spread?
      You can track its movement with this map.
    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.

Other experts said supervisors on the ship needed to enforce strict hygiene policies, including frequent hand-washing. Both passengers and crew members should also be “keeping distance from others and avoiding congregating,” said Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, who is co-director of the University of Washington MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security.

Crew members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, said they had been provided with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, but given little training on how to reduce their chances of infection in a situation of this magnitude.

Like passengers, they have been given thermometers and told to monitor their own temperatures and report back if they develop a fever. They have received no new guidance since the quarantine began a week ago, according to one employee.

Passengers said they were grateful to the crew but also worried that the employees, even though they are wearing protective gear when they enter cabins, might be passing the infection to people isolated inside.

On Monday, passengers were given new masks designed to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles, as well as packages of alcohol wipes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta also sent a letter to passengers advising them to wear face masks if they shared cabins with other passengers and to avoid sharing personal household items.

Japan’s health ministry said on Monday that so far it had tested 439 people on the ship for the coronavirus. That leaves more than 3,000 who have not been tested, receiving only initial health checks.

Japanese officials have said they do not have the capacity to test everyone on the ship. But on Sunday, the health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said his ministry needed to consider whether it could do so.

In Hong Kong, where another cruise ship, the World Dream, has been held at port, about 1,800 crew members aboard were tested for the coronavirus after the authorities said that infected passengers had disembarked on Jan. 24 in Guangzhou Province, China.

When the ship arrived in Hong Kong last Wednesday on a subsequent journey, the health authorities first tested those who had fevers or showed symptoms of the virus. All of those initial tests came back negative, but out of an abundance of caution, the Hong Kong health authorities decided to test all crew members.

Experts said the authorities should also test everyone on board the Diamond Princess in Yokohama.

“It is extremely possible that the infection has been transmitted on the ship,” said Harue Okada, a professor of public health at Hakuoh University in Tochigi Prefecture. She added that it was difficult to identify who had been exposed to infected people, including those who came into contact with other people during shore excursions.

“Furthermore, as it is assumed that there are asymptomatic but infected people, the virus test is necessary,” Dr. Okada said.

The cruise ship terminal where the Diamond Princess is docked has been closed to the public. On Monday, a sort of war room had been set up where around a dozen people sat at computers and on phones.

Some of them wore jackets that identified them as members of a psychological support team. The room’s walls were plastered with long strips of butcher paper, where information about the patients and a timeline had been scribbled in thick black marker.

At the port, the daughter of a passenger tried to deliver food and water to her elderly mother, who she said had a fever and was having trouble getting attention from the medical staff.

“She feels sick. I hope she can disembark soon,” the woman, Etsuko Takashima, said through tears as she spoke about her mother, Ayako Jinnai, 84. “At least, I hope she can get a drip infusion in the medical room on the ship. I don’t think her current condition is known to the staff.”

Ben Dooley reported from Yokohama, and Motoko Rich from Tokyo. Makiko Inoue, Eimi Yamamitsu and Hisako Ueno contributed reporting from Tokyo.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

And the Oscar goes to … Scarlett Johansson’s back tattoo!

Johansson, nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, appeared on the red carpet for the 92nd Academy Awards wearing a silver Oscar de la Renta gown alongside fiancé Colin Jost. While striking for its metallic shine, perhaps the most noticeable part of the “Marriage Story” star’s look was the massive back tattoo she showed off in the backless gown.

That tattoo is actually composed of several smaller tattoos, including roses that pay homage to her 6-year-old daughter Rose Dauriac, whom she shares with ex-husband Romain Dauriac, and a lamb.

Westlake Legal Group 5e416816250000560033d51a Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

Steve Granitz via Getty Images Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson attend the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on February 09, 2020, in Hollywood, California. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e416821210000550016dc20 Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

Amy Sussman via Getty Images Scarlett Johansson attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.

Westlake Legal Group 5e41681e210000310016dc1f Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images Scarlett Johansson attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.

Another tattoo ― a large owl ― on Johansson’s torso was visible later in the evening, when she appeared on the red carpet for the Vanity Fair Oscars party in a different gown: 

Westlake Legal Group 5e416b22250000550033d51e Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

George Pimentel via Getty Images Scarlett Johansson attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California.

Johansson was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for “Marriage Story” and Best Supporting Actress for “Jojo Rabbit.” She lost to Renee Zellweger and Laura Dern respectively.

But her tattoos won on Twitter.

Many had no idea that the actor had such prominent tattoos and had a lot to say about them:

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

Westlake Legal Group 10china-briefing-xi2-videoSixteenByNine3000 Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

President Xi Jinping made a rare public appearance when he visited a city hospital. He took part in a video conference with officials and hospital workers in Wuhan, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.CreditCredit…Pang Xinglei/Xinhua, via Associated Press

Xi Jinping, China’s powerful but recently aloof leader, toured several public places in Beijing on Monday afternoon to oversee efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to a flurry of reports in the state media.

Mr. Xi, whose most recent public appearance came during a meeting with Cambodia’s prime minister last week, traveled first to a neighborhood roughly five miles north of his residence near the Forbidden City and toured a local government office.

He later visited a city hospital, where he took part in a video conference with officials and workers at a hospital in Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak more than 600 miles to the south.

Mr. Xi, wearing a powder blue surgical mask and a black suit, made no public remarks, at least according to the initial reports of his tour of the city, but state media portrayed the appearances as a demonstration of his central role in directing the response, as well as his empathy for the ordinary people it has affected most.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_168692715_dbc4ee6a-91c1-49fb-8bb8-b70283da7c42-articleLarge Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Monday.Credit…Carl Court/Getty Images

An additional 65 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, raising the total number to 135, the ship’s captain told passengers on Monday.

Japan’s health ministry has not publicly confirmed the sharp rise in cases. The ministry has announced new cases almost daily since the quarantine began a week ago, and the increase reported by the captain on Monday was the largest yet.

The outbreak on the ship, the Diamond Princess, which has been docked at the Yokohama port since Monday, is the largest outside China. About 3,700 people, including about 2,600 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members, are quarantined on the ship, with passengers largely confined to their cabins.

Passengers have grown increasingly fearful that the quarantine is putting them in jeopardy. The Japanese authorities have tested a few hundred people for the coronavirus who were believed to be at particular risk, but as the number of cases has risen, some passengers have pressed for everyone on board to be screened.

For days, Japanese officials have said they do not have the capacity to test all 3,700 people on board. But on Sunday, the health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said his ministry needed to consider whether it could do so, while noting the challenges of carrying out such a large screening.

Ninety-seven people died from the coronavirus on Sunday, a new daily record since the new coronavirus was first detected in December, as the death toll rose to 908, China’s National Health Commission said on Monday.

That new total surpasses the toll from the SARS epidemic of 2002-3, according to official data.

The number of confirmed infections in the country rose to 40,171 and 3,062 new cases were recorded in the preceding 24 hours, most of them in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak. A United States citizen died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, the provincial capital, American officials said on Saturday.

The SARS epidemic, which also began in China, killed 774 people worldwide. There have been only two confirmed deaths from the new coronavirus outside mainland China: one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Many doctors believe that deaths and infections from the current epidemic are undercounted in China because testing facilities are under severe strain.

But for the tenth day in a row, the number of people recovering in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, exceeded the number of deaths, raising hopes that the epidemic could be less fatal than previously feared.

Official data showed there were 356 people who recovered in the province on Sunday.

The rate of infection, however, has continued to soar, signaling that the worst of the outbreak is still to come.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • Where has the virus spread?
      You can track its movement with this map.
    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.

The cure rate in Hubei rose to 6.1 percent on Monday, compared with the 1.7 percent on January 27. Officials suggested that could mean experimental medical treatments were working.

Westlake Legal Group china-wuhan-coronavirus-maps-promo-articleLarge-v20 Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak

The virus has sickened more than 40,600 people in China and 24 other countries.

Some factories and offices across China resumed work on Monday, the end of an extended Lunar New Year holiday intended to slow the spread of the virus.

The return to business occurred slowly as many workers were reluctant to return to large cities from their hometowns, and as managers tried to respond to a slew of new health regulations issued by local governments across the country.

The new rules vary somewhat from city to city but have some common denominators. In big manufacturing centers like Shenzhen, Suzhou and Nanjing, companies are required to learn the travel history of every employee.

Companies were told to bar entry to anyone who had visited in the past two weeks areas with large outbreaks of the virus, particularly Hubei province but with some cities also prohibiting the return to work of anyone who had been to Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province that has also had numerous cases.

City governments were also requiring companies frequently check their employees’ temperatures and set up hand-washing protocols.

American companies in central China are restarting production as soon as they obtain permission, but are also required to establish elaborate new procedures.

“They want to protect staff, but also nobody wants to get caught offsides when it comes to the labor law or the daily announcements from the government,” said Ker Gibbs, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

In many large cities, the outbreak has continued to disrupt daily life. Across the country, teeming cities are effectively locked down, schools have been closed for weeks, trains and flights canceled.

The Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, was eerily empty on Sunday. Cathay Pacific, the city’s flag carrier, said last week that it would force employees to take three-week unpaid furloughs.

Parents in the territory and elsewhere across China, including Shanghai and Guangdong, scrambled to find child care after schools announced they would continue to remain closed for the month of February even as many workers were told to return to their jobs on Monday.

In Beijing, the city’s typically teeming subway, had far fewer riders on Monday and train cars were largely empty

An advance team of experts from the World Health Organization was scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Monday evening, nearly two weeks after the organization’s director general met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and praised the country’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

The team will be led by Bruce Aylward, a Canadian physician and epidemiologist who has previously overseen international campaigns to fight Ebola and polio, the organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on Sunday in Geneva.

Since Dr. Tedros’s trip to Beijing in January, the organization has sought to dispatch a team, but until now the Chinese government had balked. The delay raised questions about China’s sensitivity to international assistance in combating the epidemic, though a spokeswoman said it was simply a matter of “sorting out arrangements.”

Dr. Tedros did not announce other members of the team or its exact mission, though it is likely to focus on the government’s efforts to contain the virus and the lessons other countries could learn from it.

The state-controlled People’s Daily reported on Monday that the team would include “international experts in various fields” who would “work with their Chinese counterparts to increase understanding on the epidemic and guide the work of global responses.”

In a series of posts on Twitter, Dr. Tedros expressed concern that countries experiencing a handful of cases with no direct connection to China could yet see a jump in new infections.

“The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries,” he wrote. “In short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

He called on all countries to share information about the coronavirus “in real time” with the organization.

The new coronavirus is capable of spreading through the air, a Chinese official said recently, a disturbing revelation that suggests the strain can be transmitted more easily than previously thought.

Zeng Qun, the deputy head of Shanghai’s Civil Affairs Bureau, said at a news conference on Saturday that aerosol transmission is among the ways the novel coronavirus can be spread. Airborne transmission is particularly dangerous because it can occur even if people are not in proximity.

But a second Chinese official discounted those claims and said aerosol transmission had not been confirmed and needed further study.

Shen Yinzhong, the medical director of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, told The Paper, a Shanghai newspaper, the coronavirus can spread through the air “in theory,” confirmation requires further research.

The conflicting reports underscore the confusion surrounding the virus. There have been several cases which appear to have occurred without direct contact with an infected person.

The Chinese government and the World Health Organization have said that most infections occurred among people in close physical contact.

The related virus that caused SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, said in 2004 that virus could be spread through the air under some circumstances. An outbreak in Hong Kong occurred, experts said, when the wind carried the virus through the air from an apartment complex in which several people were infected.

The China Development Forum, an annual economic policy conference that China has used to project an image of itself as an economically open country, has been postponed indefinitely.

In past years, members of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee and the governor of China’s central bank have used the event to pitch for more foreign investment into the country.

But this year, global companies are instead grappling with the results of having a supply chain deeply embedded in China as the coronavirus spreads across the nation.

On Monday, Nissan of Japan said it would shut down its plant in Kyushu, Japan, for four days beginning later this week, “due to supply shortages of parts from China.” Other carmakers, like Fiat Chrysler in Italy and Hyundai in South Korea, have already warned that a lack of parts from China could force them to curtail production in their home markets.

Even trade shows further afield are taking a hit with companies like Amazon and Sony choosing to stay away from this month’s MWC technology conference in Barcelona, one of the world’s most important mobile technology trade fairs, because of the coronavirus. Nvidia, LG and Ericsson also pulled out of the conference.

More than 100,000 people from more than 200 countries had been expected to attend the event, but some big firms are dropping out. The organizers said new safety measures would be implemented, including prohibiting any visitors from Hubei Province in China from attending. Security officials will also take visitors’ body temperatures and check passports stamps in order to prevent access for anybody who had visited China in the previous 14 days. The event begins Feb. 24.

Britain’s health secretary has declared the coronavirus an “imminent threat” to public health and announced a series of measures to combat the spread of the virus on Monday, the same day that four more cases were confirmed in the country.

The new declaration will allow the health authorities to forcibly quarantine people, and designates one hospital and one conference center as isolation facilities.

The coronavirus has helped push inflation to an eight-year high, the Chinese government said on Monday, adding to Beijing’s problems.

Consumer price inflation rose to 5.4 percent year on year in January, compared to a 4.5 percent rise in December. That signified the highest level since November 2011, according to China’s statistics bureau. The outbreak has disrupted China’s supply chains, making it difficult in many places to get products to market.

While nonfood related prices, including energy, rose slightly, it was food prices that pushed inflation up. The price of pork, which has surged for months, has now more than doubled over the past year after an outbreak of African swine fever led to a shortage of pigs.

The latest inflation figures mark a new challenge for China’s central bank. The People’s Bank of China has opened the spigots to provide money to local governments that are trying to contain a vicious outbreak. Last week it announced it had pumped $175 billion into the financial system.

The government has told banks to extend favorable terms to companies that have been closed by efforts to contain the outbreak, which include means to keep people at home. In many cases, employers have been responsible for employee wages after closing factories or other operations.

But printing money to inject into the economy also helps push prices up, creating a double-edged sword for China’s authorities.

Inflation typically rises slightly during the holiday, when families buy presents and food to feed large family gatherings. Economists say they rose faster than usual and stayed higher for a longer period of time.

Chinese efforts to stop the coronavirus outbreak have hit even those companies that make essential equipment for medical and emergency workers — the kind of gear that is in short supply in many parts of the country.

On Feb. 4 officials in the city of Xiantao in Hubei Province, where the outbreak has been most devastating, notified companies making protective clothing and medical masks that they needed to produce the proper paperwork before they could open again. Unless they could prove their products had been cleared for sale within China, the notice said, the factories could not open until Feb. 14.

The notice caused an uproar online. Xiantao is a major industrial hub for what are known as nonwoven products. That includes the suits and gloves used by emergency workers to protect themselves during outbreaks. The area is especially important for making protective masks. The vast majority of its production is exported, according to 2016 government figures.

The notice said local officials made the move to ensure quality standards were upheld and to root out counterfeit gear makers. But officials relented following a public outcry. On Monday, the government said it approved 73 protective product manufacturers to resume their operations, while others are being certified. It was not clear on Monday how many had resumed production.

Westlake Legal Group china-coronavirus-contain-promo-1580431440996-articleLarge-v7 Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

How Bad Will the Coronavirus Outbreak Get? Here Are 6 Key Factors

Here’s what early research says about how the pathogen behaves and the factors that will determine whether it can be contained.

Reporting and research was contributed by Steven Lee Myers, Russell Goldman, Keith Bradsher, Ben Dooley, Motoko Rich, Sui-Lee Wee, Amber Wang, Alexandra Stevenson, Tiffany May, Megan Specia, Constant Méheut, Amy Tsang, Adam Satariano, Raphael Minder Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang and Claire Fu.

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Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote

Westlake Legal Group image Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox news fnc/politics fnc b2a392a4-b583-529e-9063-bee00aa7b135 article

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who just eight years ago was jeered and vilified by Democrats as he ran for president, has suddenly been the recipient of gushing praise from the party since his vote to convict President Trump for abuse of power in his impeachment trial.

Romney was the sole member of the Senate to break from party lines in voting on whether to remove Trump from office. While his guilty vote had no effect on the outcome of the trial — acquittal on both counts — Democrats have publicly lauded the 2012 GOP presidential nominee for his decision. And the mere mention of his name has elicited loud applause on the primary campaign trail on multiple occasions.

ROMNEY APPLAUDED BY DEMS DURING NEW HAMPSHIRE DEBATE

“Voting to convict this president is an act of patriotism. Thank you for yours,” tweeted presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, also tweeted about Romney, saying, “Senator Romney reminds us that it is not impossible to do the right thing, it’s just hard.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was especially effusive with his praise for Romney.

“At a time when many wonder what honor is left in public life, there stands Mitt Romney,” he tweeted.

During Friday night’s Democratic debate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., took a moment to recognize Romney for breaking ranks with the GOP and voting against Trump.

“There was courage from Mitt Romney who took a very, very difficult vote,” Klobuchar said, receiving thunderous applause in response.

Klobuchar received a similar crowd response when she lauded Romney at a New Hampshire rally on Sunday.

“You know this world’s upside down when a Democratic crowd is cheering the Republican nominee for president,” Klobuchar said.

Indeed, when Romney ran for president in 2012, he was targeted by Democrats before he even secured the Republican nomination. At the time, The Atlantic described “an unprecedented effort to tarnish” Romney, which was being carried out by unions, political groups, and even then-President Barack Obama’s campaign.

MITT ROMNEY PRAISED BY CELEBRITIES FOR SAYING HE’LL VOTE TO CONVICT DONALD TRUMP: HE HAS ‘POLITICAL COURAGE’

This included associating the moderate Romney with “the extreme tea party agenda” and deriding him as rich and not working for the middle class. A pro-Obama ad linked him to a woman’s death from cancer after Romney’s company, Bain Capital, bought out and closed the steel plant company that had employed her husband five years earlier.

There was also the notorious moment when Romney answered a question about gender inequality in the workplace. During a debate against Obama, Romney recalled how when he was governor of Massachusetts, all of the applications that made it to his desk for cabinet positions had been from men, so he went out of his way to seek out female candidates. The result, he said, was “binders full of women,” and more women on his senior staff than in any other state. Democrats and the media were quick to seize on Romney’s awkward phrasing instead of the message behind it.

This is in sharp contrast to Romney’s treatment from Democrats in 2020. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. even nominated Romney — along with Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who also voted against Trump despite political pressure — for the Profile in Courage Award that is given by Boston’s John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

Romney’s own party has been far less appreciative.

SWIPE AT ROMNEY? UTAH LAWMAKER INTRODUCES BILL TO RECALL US SENATORS

“In a political sense, he is ostracized. He is excommunicated. He has lost all credibility. He should hire lots of security guards — I don’t wish him any physical harm, but people are furious!” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, who already disinvited Romney from the popular CPAC convention this month.

President Trump criticized Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, after the Utah senator had cited his faith as a major factor in his decision to vote against the president.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Trump said.

An effort in Utah to allow voters to recall their senators also recently picked up steam. Although the author of the legislation said the bill was never aimed at Romney specifically, the effort caught fire since Romney’s impeachment vote on Wednesday, the Deseret News reports.

At least two Utah congressmen, however, were against the idea of removing Romney.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Heavens no,” said GOP Rep. John Curtis.

Fellow Republican Rep. Chris Stewart noted that while there is “a lot of anger” in Utah, “I think this too shall pass.”

Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group image Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox news fnc/politics fnc b2a392a4-b583-529e-9063-bee00aa7b135 article   Westlake Legal Group image Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox news fnc/politics fnc b2a392a4-b583-529e-9063-bee00aa7b135 article

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Trump’s Budget Math Grapples With Economic Reality

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-budgetmath-facebookJumbo Trump’s Budget Math Grapples With Economic Reality United States International Relations United States Economy Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government National Debt (US) medicaid Interest Rates Federal Budget (US)

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s budget proposals have been defined by a belief that the economy will grow significantly faster than most economists anticipate. The latest version, set for release on Monday, is a brief departure: It concedes, for the first time, that the administration’s past projections were too optimistic.

Then it goes right back to forecasting 3 percent growth, for the better part of a decade.

Mr. Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal is slightly larger than last year’s $4.75 trillion request and calls for increased spending on the military, the border wall, infrastructure and other priorities, including extending the president’s 2017 tax cuts. It also includes trillions of dollars of cuts to safety-net programs like Medicaid and discretionary spending programs outside of the military, like education and the environment.

The White House makes the case that this is affordable and that the deficit will start to fall, dropping below $1 trillion in the 2021 fiscal year and that the budget will be balanced by 2035. That projection relies on rosy assumptions about growth and the accumulation of new federal debt — both areas where the administration’s past predictions have proved to be overconfident.

According to summary tables reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with administration officials, the new budget will forecast a growth rate for the United States economy of 2.8 percent this year — or, by the metric the administration prefers to cite, a 3.1 percent rate. That is more than a half percentage point larger than forecasters at the Federal Reserve and the Congressional Budget Office predict.

It then predicts growth above 3 percent annually for the next several years if the administration’s economic policies are enacted. The Fed, the budget office and others all see growth falling below 2 percent annually in that time. By 2030, the administration predicts the economy will be more than 15 percent larger than forecasters at the budget office do.

Past administrations have also dressed up their budget forecasts with economic projections that proved far too good to be true. In its fiscal year 2011 budget, for example, the Obama administration predicted several years of growth topping 4 percent in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis — a number it never came close to reaching even once.

Trump officials had considered their projections to be a break from that trend, writing last year that they were the first administration on record “to have experienced economic growth that meets or exceeds its own forecasts in each of its first two years in office.” That turned out to be wrong: In the middle of last year, the Commerce Department revised its accounting of the 2018 growth rate downward, to well below the rate Trump officials had forecast. Their predictions were similarly off in 2019.

Robust economic growth rates are not the only area where the administration’s renewed optimism appears in its latest budget. It has also revised down its estimate of the interest the federal government would pay to borrow money over the next decade, based largely on the assumption that the Fed, which began cutting rates in 2019, would raise them only modestly again over the next 10 years. The changes in rate assumptions reduce budget deficits by $1.5 trillion over the course of the decade, according to the administration’s projections.

Essentially, administration officials are contending that rising levels of debt in the United States will not drive up borrowing costs, as many conservative economists have long warned, at least for the next several years. They also believe, a rarity among economists, that a sustained stretch of 3 percent growth would not push the Fed to raise interest rates.

As a result, the administration sees federal debt held by the public — the national debt, essentially — declining from 79 percent of the overall economy this year to 66 percent in 2030. The budget office sees it rising, to 98 percent, a level not reached since 1946.

In order to justify that optimism, administration officials are contending that their overly optimistic growth forecasts of the past were a fluke of circumstance.

Mr. Trump’s first budget, in the spring of 2017, predicted growth of 2.3 percent that year using the administration’s preferred measure — the change in the size of the economy from the fourth quarter of the preceding year. It was a mild undershoot; growth actually hit 2.5 percent.

The next two budgets predicted 3.1 percent growth for 2018 and 3.2 percent for 2019. Both were off, badly. Growth was 2.5 percent in 2018, from fourth quarter to fourth quarter, and 2.3 percent in 2019, according to the Commerce Department.

Officials on Sunday attributed a half-point of the missed forecast last year to the effects of American trade policy — specifically, uncertainty over resolution of trade talks with China and congressional approval of a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. They said those uncertainties were now resolved and that growth would accelerate accordingly.

The senior administration official also said that a General Motors strike, aerospace giant Boeing’s struggles with its 737 Max aircraft and flooding in the Midwest had reduced growth by an additional three tenths of a percent last year.

Mr. Trump has long asserted that his push to negotiate with the Chinese and reopen North American trade talks were helping the economy. In the 2016 campaign, his advisers said that tariffs on Chinese imports — even more aggressive levies than what Mr. Trump ultimately imposed on Beijing — would increase growth, by pushing multinational companies to invest in the United States instead of China.

Such an investment wave never materialized. Capital spending growth turned negative for the last three quarters of 2019. Many forecasters believe that decline was trade-related; the budget office, among others, is predicting a bounce-back in investment growth this year. But those forecasters also see growth slowing, over all, as the stimulus fades from Mr. Trump’s deficit-swelling tax cuts in 2017 and spending increases he has signed each year in office.

Partly as a result of those measures, and the administration’s inability to interest Congress in any of its most aggressive proposals for cuts, the federal budget deficit was nearly twice as large last year as the administration projected in its first budget: It topped $1 trillion last year. The Congressional Budget Office predicts it will continue to grow, hitting $1.3 trillion in 2025 as growth slows to 1.5 percent.

For that same year, the new Trump budget predicts the deficit will be less than half the size — and that growth will be just under 3 percent.

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Oscars 2020: 7 most cringeworthy moments

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6130562933001_6130564105001-vs Oscars 2020: 7 most cringeworthy moments Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/events/oscars fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 10bd90cb-2d69-5bcf-8150-911e47553f36

This year’s Academy Awards was filled with surprises.

“Parasite” took Hollywood’s top prize on Sunday night — best picture — which made it the first non-English language film to do so. The South Korean film also won Oscars for best director, best international film and best screenplay.

While the acting award winners went as expected, with Brad Pitt, Renée Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, and Laura Dern winning statues.

BRAD PITT JABS GOP IN OSCARS ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, JOAQUIN PHOENIX TALKS ANIMAL RIGHTS

But the ceremony also had its fair share awkward moments, like when Eminem surprised everyone with a performance of 2002 best song winner “Lose Yourself,” to Billie Eilish’s reaction to Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig attempt at singing, to Josh Gad throwing shade at John Travolta.

Check out the seven most cringeworthy moments from the 2020 Oscars.

1. Steve Martin mispronouncing Cynthia Erivo’s name

2. No one clapping when Chris Rock brought up Jeff Bezos who was in the audience

3. Diane Keaton almost announcing the best screenplay winner too early and then dropping the envelope. Thank goodness for Keanu Reeves! 

4. Josh Gad throwing shade at John Travolta for his epic mispronunciation of Idina Menzel’s name

5. Billie Eilish’s reaction to Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig singing

6. The audience reacting to Eminem’s surprise performance of “Lose Yourself”

7. When the lights dimmed on the “Parasite” cast after winning best picture but the crowd kept cheering

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6130562933001_6130564105001-vs Oscars 2020: 7 most cringeworthy moments Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/events/oscars fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 10bd90cb-2d69-5bcf-8150-911e47553f36   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6130562933001_6130564105001-vs Oscars 2020: 7 most cringeworthy moments Jessica Napoli fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/events/oscars fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 10bd90cb-2d69-5bcf-8150-911e47553f36

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Sanders pulls away from Buttigieg in New Hampshire poll

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Steve Martin Helped Open The Oscars With A Dig At The Iowa Caucuses

Westlake Legal Group 5e4166d9250000550033d517 Steve Martin Helped Open The Oscars With A Dig At The Iowa Caucuses

Steve Martin made an appearance at the 92nd Academy Awards and threw one of the few political jabs of the night.

The comedian took the stage alongside Chris Rock to open the awards show, joking that both had previously hosted the Oscars, so their brief appearance Sunday was a “demotion.”

As he continued riffing on the awards, Martin brought up the disastrous announcement of “La La Land” as the 2018 Best Picture at the 89th annual Academy Awards. If you somehow forgot, “Moonlight” actually won that year, but presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope to read.

“A couple of years ago, there was a big disaster here at the Oscars, where they accidentally read out the wrong name, and it was nobody’s fault,” Martin said. “But they have guaranteed that this will not happen this year because the academy has switched to the new Iowa caucus app.”

That, of course, was a reference to the technology that Iowa Democratic Party used for the Iowa caucuses this year that led to pure chaos and botched results, delaying the outcome for days after the caucuses ended. 

Martin and Rock went on to joke about how the awards show ignores the rampant homelessness problem in Los Angeles, Jeff Bezos, and more.

You can watch their entire bit above.

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